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From Essex to Odaiba: George Peasgood to make his Games return in Tokyo

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Originally from Saffron Walden, George Peasgood is heading to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games where he will compete in PTS5 paratriathlon and C4 time trial and C4-5 road race cycling events.

Tokyo will be Peasgood’s second Paralympic Games having made his debut as a paratriathlete in Rio five years ago, when paratriathlon made its first ever Games appearance.

His swim, bike, run journey began in Saffron Walden with WaldenJNR, the junior section of WaldenTRI, with Derek Jones one of the coaches who worked with him at an early age.

“George came up through our junior ranks,” commented Jones. “His parents were both very active athletes, as was his older brother Jack.

“I remember George because I was coaching juniors a lot at the time, as was Geoff Jones, the WaldenJNR’s head coach. I remember when George came back from the major operation on his leg in 2009, he used to sit at the side of the pool on a Saturday morning watching the other juniors swimming.

“About a year after the operation he was able to take part in the three disciplines. Cycling just came naturally to him and bikes were his big thing, swimming he worked at and found he was good at that too. His big challenge naturally, was running.

“He was a normal boisterous teenager in a group of energetic young athletes, I remember pulling them all aside one time, George included, and telling them how they should be behaving when training, but that’s normal for that age group.”

In 2010, when paratriathlon was included in the Rio Paralympics, British Triathlon’s paratriathlon programme was formally commenced with Jonathon Riall announced as the person who would head up the programme.

“I contacted Jonathon Riall and said ‘tell me more’ and they were beginning to look for talent. I talked to the family and they were interested,” Jones said.

“British Triathlon were in the very early stages of the classification system and out of that a talent weekend was held. Jonathon then said ‘why doesn’t George come up’ and it all progressed from there.

“George obviously impressed them very much and one thing led to another, a couple more weekends in Loughborough and after he finished his A-Levels he went to Loughborough to continue studying but also with the emphasis on triathlon development.”

At Rio, Peasgood was the youngest member of the ParalympicsGB paratriathlon team aged 20. Having come out of the swim in the lead and ridden well on the bike, Peasgood crossed the line in 7th place on his Paralympic debut.

“George being George, he was mentally in good shape about the whole experience,” Jones added. “Very pleased because a, he was there and b, his sister-in-law [Alison Peasgood] medalled. So as a family it was quite an amazing experience.

“There was a terrific following [back at the club] and I remember a huge number of good luck exchanges by WaldenTRI members who sat up to watch George’s event. Everybody  sending messages continually through to the family in Rio. I remember being very impressed by this amazing level of support, the excitement and delight with George’s result.

“One of the positive things that came out from it was that George has been and talked to the club, giving a presentation about his Paralympic journey and experience. I was so impressed with how he’d grown into this confident and personable young man.”

Having been one of the early junior members of the club, Peasgood has trodden a path through the club’s junior ranks and national pathways to reach the international level. Jones is hoping that Walden and indeed other clubs, can play their part in helping children with and without disabilities to find a home in the sport.

“It does very much fit in with our philosophy. Is there another youngster like George who the club can embrace and say ‘you can do this’. Naturally,we’d have to make some adjustments. I’d love it if the club could repeat this experience for other youngsters.

You can find out more about Peasgood by clicking to view his profile here.

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